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exhibitions

Quote of Note | James Turrell


James Turrell’s “Aten Reign” (2013), the major new site-specific installation at the core of the artist’s current exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. (Photos: David Heald)

“I have always been interested in the limits of the inside/outside dyad and in breaking through them. When I look at a space, I want to find a way to connect to the space outside, space beyond, either visually or by taking the roof off or by creating that sense of expansion that can be achieved with music, so that we are reminded that we exist in a much bigger space than the small enclosures we make for protection and occupy temporarily.

We’re like crustaceans. We make shells that enclose us. I have always wanted to find ways to meaningfully open these shells. I use enclosures to make our light more significant or to make small amounts of it more powerful. I make spaces that protect and contain light to apprehend it for our perception.”

-Artist James Turrell discussing “Aten Reign” (2013) in Artforum
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Watch: Calder | Prouvé at Gagosian Paris

Alexander Calder and Jean Prouvé get a joint close-up in an exhibition at Gagosian Paris. Organized with Galerie Patrick Seguin, “Calder | Prouvé” mixes the biomorphic mobiles and stabiles of the former with the smooth yet strong furniture and architectural projects of the latter. Born three years and an ocean apart, the two met in the early 1950s, became pen pals (although we’re pretty sure they didn’t use that term), and later collaborated on the steel base of “La Spirale,” Calder’s mega-mobile for UNESCO HQ in Paris. Gagosian has created this virtual tour of the exhibtion, on view at its Le Bourget space through November 2:

Tie DIY: MFA Boston’s ‘Hippie Chic’ Exhibition Gets Interactive

History will not be kind to patchwork leather and purple paisley velvet, but the oxymoronic notion of “hippie fashion” makes for a groovy exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. [Cut to footage of crowds digging granny dresses, kooky tunics, and platform shoes to the tune of "Sugar Magnolia" and "Purple Haze."] Later today, a couple of vintage VW buses will be stationed at the museum’s Huntington Avenue entrance for social media photo ops, and those far from the Hub can feel the love anytime with “Hippie Chic: Remix,” an online app that debuted this week.

Doff your blue feathered Yves Saint Laurent chubby and spend a few minutes choosing among 54 ensembles inspired by the fashion revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s as well as trippy options involving faces borrowed from the MFA collection (George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, Dante Gabriel Rossetti‘s Pre-Raphaelite flower child) or an uploaded visage. The result of the not-so-long, strange, online trip is a psychedelic album cover designed for sharing with far-out followers.

Watch: The Bouroullecs’ Quiet Motion

Surely one of the most mesmerizing installations at this year’s Salone del Mobile was Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec‘s “Quiet Motion,” a quartet of cork platforms that rotated, slowly and silently, in the cloister of a Milanese monastery. The installation, presented in partnership with BMWi, was designed “as an allegorical interpretation of movement and contemplation,” according to the brothers, who interpreted the concept of sustainable mobility with materials including fabrics made of the sustainable wool yarn that will be used in the electric car’s seat upholstery and lightweight carbon columns created using renewable energy sources. Here’s a cinematic souvenir of the project: the Quiet Motion film, directed by Juriaan Booij:

Quote of Note | Ragnar Kjartansson


(Photo courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine)

“I got this old fishing boat from Reykjavik, completely ruined, but it was perfect in terms of size. I managed to persuade this shipyard in Stykkisholmur to restore it for me…I asked Kjartan Sveinsson, who was part of the band Sigur Ros—the keyboard player, he was kind of the whole band, but he quit now, and he is such an incredible composer—so I asked him to create a piece for this. He’s created the most glorious melancholic brass fanfare. So you always see it sailing back and forth to this fanfare, and it’s this sort of very Wagnerian thing.”

-Artist Ragnar Kjartansson, in an interview with Sabine Mirlesse for BOMB Magazine. “S.S. Hangover” (2013; pictured above), a “performative sound sculpture,” is featured in “The Encyclopedic Palace,” the main show of the 55th Venice Biennale, on view through November 24.

CODA’s ‘Party Wall’ Debuts at MoMA PS1

Party over here! And by “here,” we mean the outdoor courtyard of MoMA PS1, where CODA has erected “Party Wall,” a flexible pavilion that will provide shade, seating, water, and conversational fodder to crowds attending performances and other summer happenings at the Long Island City art space. The Ithaca-based experimental design and research studio, established in 2008 by Caroline O’Donnell, bested four other finalists—Leong Architects, Moorhead & Moorhead, TempAgency, and French 2D—to win this year’s Young Architects Program in New York (there are also YAP competitions in Chile, Istanbul, and at MAXXI in Rome).

Even before you can discern that the towering steel-framed structure is clad in a wooden macrame of interlocking “bones” and “blanks” donated by Comet Skateboards (eco-friendly, bien sûr!), you squint at the porous facade and ask, “Wait, does that spell something? What does it say?” Exactly, party people! “In fact, it does not say anything in itself,” say the designers, “it says something only in relation to the ground and the sun, and even then, says little, except what it would like to be: a wall.”

Friday Photo: Goodnight Moon Green Room


(Photo: Jonathan Blanc)

It’s the summer of children’s books in New York. The Society of Illustrators is celebrating the creative legacy of Maurice Sendak with an exhibition of more than 200 Sendak originals, and his beloved wild things can also be found rumpusing at the New York Public Library as part of “The ABC of It,” a show that examines why children’s books are important, what and how they teach children, and what they reveal about the societies that produced them. Among the books and objects on view through March 2014 is this recreation of the great green room of Margaret Wise Brown‘s Goodnight Moon, complete with a red balloon and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon.

Paul McCarthy’s Grim Fairy Tale Debuts at Park Avenue Armory


(Photo: James Ewing)

New York’s Park Avenue Armory is an insatiable monster of a space, able to accommodate art fairs and the Royal Shakespeare Company, atonal German operas and homespun missions to Mars, all with what feels like acreage to spare. Until now. Paul McCarthy’s “WS” manages to fill every orifice of the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thomson Drill Hall, oozing under the bleachers and out into the period rooms to tell the grimmest of fairy tales—the artist’s debaucherous take on Snow White, or White Snow (WS). Bring on the depraved Disney magic, because through August 4, the Park Avenue Armory is where nightmares come true.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, this is a really tough work,” said Tom Eccles, consulting curator at the Armory, at Tuesday’s press preview. “It’s painful.” Bracketing a kind of hellish studio backlot are giant elevated screens playing a four-channel video that follows WS from the forest—which alternates from a Rousseauian jungle studded with tropical megablooms to just plain trippy, depending on the lighting—into the home of the dwarves, an oafish, mentally challenged, and pants-free bunch who favor Yale and UCLA hoodies. A series of increasingly raucous house parties ends with Walt Paul (McCarthy himself, stealing the show as a Walt Disney-like character who unravels from inscrutable butler mode to a kind of coked-up Walter Matthau) on all fours in the basement “rumpus room,” sodomized with a broomstick—as if Bosch and Brueghel teamed up on an alternate ending for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The seven-hour feature, culled from some 350 hours of footage (“We couldn’t even watch it all,” says McCarthy), takes place mostly inside a thoroughly trashed, gravy-and-chocolate smeared replica of the artist’s childhood home in Salt Lake City. The ranch-style house has been recreated in three-quarter-scale, a choice that, when combined with the tightly shot, loosely edited cacophony of sins, foodstuffs, and liquids, makes for a claustrophobia- and queasiness-inducing viewing experience.
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Le Corbusier at MoMA: A Globe-Spanning Show for a ‘Multitasking Character’

Le Corbusier said that he preferred drawing to talking, on the grounds that the former is “faster and leaves less room for lies.” And so we silently sketched a “vehement silhouette” of MoMA beside a pair of round eyeglasses and handed it to writer Nancy Lazarus, who knew immediately what to do. Here’s her take on the museum’s highly anticipated Corbu-fest.


Le Corbusier’s urban plan for Rio de Janeiro (1929). Inset, a 2012 photograph of his Villa Savoye (1928–31). © 2013 Artists Rights Society, New York/ADAGP, Paris/FLC. Photo © Richard Pare

So much for Swiss diplomacy and neutrality: Le Corbusier, a prolific artist and architect, was politically active and often provoked and antagonized those closest to him in the art world, according to Jean-Louis Cohen, professor in the history of architecture at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Cohen spoke at the press preview for “Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes,” which opens Saturday at the Museum of Modern Art. He organized the exhibition and served as guest curator, working with Barry Bergdoll, MoMA’s chief curator of architecture and design. The comprehensive display of 320 objects draws on MoMA’s own collection and extensive loans from the Paris-based Le Corbusier Foundation, culminating a longstanding but rocky relationship with the artist.

The career of Le Corbusier (a Frenchman born in Switzerland as Charles-Edouard Jenneret) spanned six decades. The scope of his life’s work leaves the public both impressed and overwhelmed: he was involved in 400 architectural projects, completed 75 buildings, and published nearly 40 books. A small group of his buildings is now being considered for inclusion on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
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Seven Questions for the Campana Brothers


Humberto and Fernando Campana (Photo: Fernando Laszlo)

“I think our work is always based on materials,” said Humberto Campana, glancing around the first U.S. solo gallery show for him and his brother, Fernando. “And we’re more and more interested in natural materials.” And so the new works on view through July 3 at Friedman Benda in New York swap plush and plastic for cowhide, fish scales, and gemstones, upping the luxe quotient while maintaining the brothers’ signature straight-outta-Sao-Paulo brand of whimsy. While putting the finishing touches on the show last week, they made time to plop down on their leather Alligator Couch–a handcrafted update to the 2005 plush version–to share some stories behind the new pieces, their working process, and how they might spend their summer vacation.

What was the starting point for this show?
Humberto Campana: This [points to "Racket Chair (Circles)," pictured at right] was the seed for the exhibition. This chair was born from a mistake. We didn’t want to do weaving…it was projected to be made with leather cushions. But that didn’t work out and it stayed for two years in our studio, unfinished. And then one day we asked a guy to weave it. I think these look like tennis racquets [laughs].

Fernando Campana: Here we are showing many different concepts. The thing with this exhibition is that one piece generated another one.

You’ve covered the walls of the gallery in coconut fiber. Did you expect it to have such a dramatic effect?
FC: It’s to bring some part of Brazil–the nature of the place–and also to combine with the pieces that we put in this exhibition.

HC: Also, it was a way to to come back to our roots, with using simple materials to construct the look of luxury. And the idea that this is luxury today. We wanted to make those statements–or pose those questions.

How did you decide to use amethysts?
HC: It’s the best! My father was an agronomic engineer. He used to work on farms in Brazil and in some areas you can find crystals. And whenever he would find a crystal he would bring it back home to our house. And I would always hold up the crystals to the sun to see the details. It kind of gives…a shamanic quality.
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